RUSSIA, IRAN TO BOYCOTT US DOLLAR IN BILATERAL TRADE

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Russia and China also agreed to trade with each other using the ruble and yuan

by WORLD BULLETIN | OCTOBER 2, 2014

The move away from the U.S. dollar is yet another reaction to Western sanctions placed on Russia since it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March.

Russia and Iran have agreed to use their own national currencies in bilateral trade transactions rather than the U.S. dollar.

Iran’s IRNA news agency reported that the plans were announced in a meeting on Tuesday in Tehran by Iranian business magnate and head of the Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce, Asadollah Asgaroladi.

An original agreement to trade in rials and rubles was made earlier this month in a meeting between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

Similarly, Russia and China also agreed to trade with each other using the ruble and yuan in early September, following a Russian deal with North Korea in June to trade in rubles.

The move away from the U.S. dollar is yet another reaction to Western sanctions placed on Russia since it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March.

In response to sanctions on Russia by the European Union, Russia has also threatened to cut off Europes gas supply and close its air space to European airlines. Russia has also boycotted European food imports, in a move likely to affect farmers in the EU.

NATO stages massive military drills in Latvia

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The exercises in Latvia will be followed by other drills in Germany, Norway, Ukraine, and Poland later this autumn

As seven-day NATO military exercises continue to take place in Latvia, the organization says the drills are aimed at showing its commitment to Baltic member states in the face of an “assertive” Russia.

Exercise Steadfast Javelin 2, which kicked off on September 2, simulates the deployment of NATO soldiers and equipment during a crisis situation. A total of around 2,000 soldiers from nine different countries are taking part in the maneuvers, which will carry on until Monday.

On Friday night, around 500 paratroopers landed at Lielvarde airport, located about 60 km from Latvia’s capital, Riga.

“We want to assure our people that we are able to protect them. Certainly on top of this we send a clear message to everyone who wants to threaten NATO, that it’s not a thing you should do. NATO will always defend and protect its people,” General Hans-Lothar Domrose, commander of the NATO military command in Brunssum, Netherlands, told reporters.

The exercises in Latvia will be followed by other drills in Germany, Norway, Ukraine, and Poland later this autumn.

Steadfast Javelin 2 was reinforced by a NATO summit in Wales, where the bloc officially announced it was creating a new rapid reaction force. The spearhead of any such force would consist of 4,000-5,000 troops who would be able to deploy to any NATO member country within 48 hours.

“It needs to be a relatively light force. It needs to be a force that succeeds, builds upon intelligence and agility, and precision as opposed to weight of military force. It is an agile, precise, intelligence-led rapidly deployable force,” Lieutenant General Ed Davis, NATO deputy land commander, told Reuters.

After 10 years of placing emphasis on military activity in Afghanistan, the alliance is now refocusing on what it refers to as the defense of its members.

The UK has agreed to provide up to 1,000 personnel in the multi-national force, which will be based in Eastern Europe. There are already 1,500 British troops involved in exercises in Baltic countries and an extra 2,000 will be deployed over the next two years.

Baltic states have been seeking backup from NATO, claiming they fear that Russia could use the same rationale as it did in Crimea to justify an attack on them. Large Russian speaking minorities live in Baltic the region – in Latvia, for instance, they account for some 26 percent (over 520,000 people) of the total population.

The announcement was met with dismay in Moscow, which said that NATO was using the crisis in Ukraine to push its military presence closer to Russia’s borders.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the new force would sabotage the fragile peace process in eastern Ukraine.

“Together with the rhetoric at the summit, and the planned military exercises before the end of the year, this will increase tension, destabilization the nascent peace process, and further widen the division in Ukraine,” the ministry’s statement said.

As tensions remain high in Ukraine, a US Navy destroyer, a Canadian fregate and, reportedly, a French frigate have entered the Black Sea. A Spanish warship is reportedly on its way there as well.

EX-CIA OFFICIAL PROPOSES ASSASSINATION OF PUTIN

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Former intelligence official wants sanctions against Russia to lead to the removal of Putin, “with a bullet hole in the back of his head” if necessary

by KIT DANIELS | INFOWARS.COM | AUGUST 28, 2014

In a recent op-ed, a former CIA official suggested the removal of Russian President Vladimir Putin, by assassination if necessary, should be the primary objective of the Obama administration in its strategy for Ukraine.

Herbert E. Meyer, who served as a Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence under the Reagan administration, said the goal of U.S. sanctions against Russia “should be to get the Russians who’ve been keeping Putin in power, or tolerating Putin in power, to throw that knockout punch.”

“If Putin is too stubborn to acknowledge that his career is over, and the only way to get him out of the Kremlin is feet-first, with a bullet hole in the back of his head — that would also be okay with us,” he stated.

To ensure Putin’s removal, Meyer suggested, the Obama administration should strike a wedge between the Russian business elite and the Kremlin that could serve as a catalyst for an attempt on Putin’s life.

“That’s why the sanctions will work if the president and his European counterparts will keep tightening the screws; if they keep making commerce more difficult for Russia’s serious business executives, for instance by blocking their access to capital, and if they keep making life more miserable for Russia’s playboy oligarchs, for instance by canceling their credit cards and denying landing rights to their private jets,” he added. “And if the president and European leaders keep telling these Russians – bluntly and publicly – that all this will end the moment Vladimir Putin leaves the Kremlin for good.”

The former CIA official is describing a centuries-old tool of statecraft in which a foreign power creates discontent between the nobles of another country and their ruler to ensure the eventual overthrow of that ruler.

But given today’s explosive increase in tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which could very well lead to another world war, Meyer’s suggestion is particularly disturbing considering is it likely that current Western intelligence officials also share similar views.

And the destabilization of the Russian government with the loss of Putin will only create chaos in the East, chaos which can be exploited by the global financial elite who hold no allegiance to any nationality.

“Every major international crisis for the past century or more has ended with an even greater consolidation of world power into the hands of the few, and this is no accident,” journalist Brandon Smith wrote.

Obama threatens Russia with new sanctions over Ukraine

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President Barack Obama acknowledged during an impromptu press conference on Thursday afternoon that the United States is considering new sanctions to impose against Russia over the escalating crisis in Ukraine.

From the White House, Pres. Obama told reporters that he’s certain Russia is playing a direct role in the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine between anti-Kiev separatists and the country’s military, and that the US is weighing further sanctions to intensify the restrictions previously waged against Moscow.

“As a result of the action Russia has already taken and the major sanctions we’ve imposed,” Obama said, “Russia is already more isolated than any time since the end of the cold war.”

“The separatists are backed, trained, armed, financed by Russia. Throughout this process we’ve seen deep Russian involvement in everything that they’ve done,” Obama added.

That behavior, he added, “will only bring more cost and consequences to Russia.” After speaking with allies, Obama continued, he expects a new wave of sanctions to come soon. The president is expected to meet with NATO partners next week, and said the US “will continue to stand firm with our allies and partners” to protect Ukraine from further encroachment.

“In our consultation with our European allies,” Obama said, “…my expectation is we will take additional steps, primary because we have not seen any meaningful action on the part of Russia to try and actually resolve this in a diplomatic fashion.”

Earlier Thursday, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said during a press conference that there are “additional tools and sanctions” being considered against Russia.

Psaki and the president’s remarks sandwiched a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York City, during which representatives from the US, United Kingdom, Australia and others all urged Russia to refrain from further escalating the situation near its border with eastern Ukraine.

“In the face of this threat, the cost of inaction is unacceptable,” Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, said during the meeting.

Vitaly Churkin, Power’s Russian counterpart, deflected blame and warned the US: “Stop interfering in the affairs of sovereign states.”

On his part, Pres. Obama added that the US has ruled out the possibility of a military response.

“We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem. What we’re doing is to mobilize the international community to apply pressure on Russia. But I think it is very important to recognize that a military solution for this problem is not going to be forthcoming,” he said.

“Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but a number of those states who are close by are,” he added, “and we take our Article Five commitments to defend each other very seriously — and that includes the smallest NATO member as well as the largest.”

Sanctions bite-back: Bickering, EU infighting over Russia retaliation

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There is growing dissent in the EU over policies that led to a de fact trade war with Russia. Meanwhile the countries not toeing the line are reaping the benefits, irritating those who jumped on the sanctions bandwagon.

China to start direct sales of fruit and vegetables to Russia

Poland asks US to buy apples banned by Russia

Greek members of the European Parliament demanded Sunday that the EU cancel sanctions against Russia. MEPs Kostantinos Papadakis and Sotiris Zarianopoulos said in a letter to some senior EU officials that Russia’s ban on food import from the EU, which was Moscow’s response to anti-Russian sanctions, was ruinous to Greek agriculture.

“Thousands of small- and middle-sized Greek farms producing fruit and vegetables and selling them primarily to the Russian market have been hit hard now as their unsold products are now rotting at warehouses,” the letter said.

The MEPs are representing the Communist Party of Greece and blame the EU leaders and their own government for supporting what they called “an imperialist intervention by the US, the EU and NATO” in Ukraine at the expense of good relations with Russia.

Greece is one of the EU members hit hardest by the Russian import ban, partially due to its economy still being in turmoil. Greek farmers stand to lose an estimated 200 million euro in direct damages due to Russia’s move, with more long-term consequences expected even if year-long ban is not renewed on expiry. The producers may find it very hard to win back the market share they had before the ban as non-affected countries would certainly weight in.

Head of Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) Heinz-Christian Strache (Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader)Head of Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) Heinz-Christian Strache (Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader)

Similar sentiments came Sunday from Heinz-Christian Strache, Chairman of the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria, which has 20 percent of seats in the lower chamber of the national parliament and showed similarly strong results in this year’s European parliamentary election.

“In just a few days after the [Russian] sanctions came into force they hurt out agriculture. The EU is thinking on how to mitigate it. Instead of putting Russia on its knees, they drag our farmers to ruin with their senseless sanctions policy,” Strache said ac sited by Austria Presse Agentur.

He also lashed out at Kiev for considering a ban on the transit of Russian gas into Europe to hurt Russia, calling such statements “an affront to their own allies” and “a mockery of the EU,” which will have to save Ukraine from bankruptcy.

He called on the Austrian government to clearly state their policy on the situation.

Who is hit hardest by Russia’s trade ban?

Gregor Gysi, a German parliament member from the Left Party, criticized on Sunday the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel for supporting the sanctions policy, which he called “childish.”

“[US President Barack] Obama talks about economic sanctions all the time, but the response hits us, not the US,” the politician said in an interview with ARD television.

“If we isolate Russia, we will have no influence,” he added. “We must learn to talk to each other again.”

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (AFP Photo/Ragio Pajula)Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (AFP Photo/Ragio Pajula)

The irritation with the damage caused by the sanctions confrontation in Europe comes amid anger towards those who chose not to confront Russia and so were not hit back. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves lashed out at Switzerland for taking a neutral stance in the conflict, which allows its bankers and traders to profit in the Russian market.

“Switzerland must live with the criticism that it has only dispensed with its own sanctions to gain an advantage for its banking sector,” the Estonian leader said in an interview with Sonntags Zeitung newspaper published on Sunday.

Switzerland, not being an EU member, is not obliged to enforce all anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the union. It took measures last week to ensure that it does not serve as a route to bypass EU’s sanctions, but declined to impose its own.

Bern cited a need to remain neutral, especially since it is now chairing the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, a key mediator in the Ukrainian crisis.

“The concept of neutrality is for me as empty today as ever before,” said Ilves.

The US and its allies have been imposing increasingly tough sanctions against Russia as punishment for its stance in the Ukrainian crisis. They accuse Russia of supporting the armed militia in eastern Ukraine, which is fighting against the Kiev-loyal troops. Moscow accuses the Western countries of hypocrisy, saying they are turning a blind eye to any crimes committed by the Ukrainian regime, which they helped to take over power in the first place.

UK’S CAMERON URGES NATO TO CONFRONT RUSSIA

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PM’s letter comes six weeks before a NATO summit in Wales

LONDON — Aug 2, 2014, 6:51 AM ET
By DANICA KIRKA Associated Press
Associated Press

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has called on NATO to rethink its long-term relationship with Russia following its “illegal” actions in Ukraine and strike an agreement on how to sustain a robust presence in Eastern Europe.

In a letter to alliance leaders released Saturday, Cameron said it is clear that Russia views NATO as an adversary and that member states must strengthen their ability to respond quickly to any threat.

“We must accept that the cooperation of recent years is not currently possible because of Russia’s own illegal actions in NATO’s neighborhood and revisit the principles that guide our relationship with Russia,” Cameron said.

His comments follow the release of a report from a British parliamentary committee, which said Russian actions have posed fundamental questions about the alliance’s ability to defend member states.

Recent events in Ukraine, following the cyberattack on Estonia in 2007 and the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, “have revealed alarming deficiencies in the state of NATO preparedness, which will be tough to fix,” the committee said.

Cameron says that today’s world is more unpredictable as “Russia has ripped up the rulebook with its illegal annexation of Crimea and aggressive destabilization of Ukraine.”

The prime minister’s letter comes six weeks before a NATO summit in Wales, the first such meeting in the U.K. since Margaret Thatcher hosted the alliance 1990 as the Cold War was coming to a close.